May 19, 2022

Pilot Project: IOP Publishing Launches Subscription ‘Offsetting’ Arrangement With 21 UK Universities to Cut Cost of Open Access

From The Times Higher Education Supplement:

A publisher has launched a pilot with 21 UK universities to reduce their subscription costs in proportion to the amount of open access fees they pay

The “offsetting” arrangement devised by the Institute of Physics’ publishing arm will allow universities that subscribe to its “hybrid” journals to publish more open access papers in them without incurring greater costs.


Steven Hall, managing director of IOP Publishing, said that the plans for the arrangement predated Mr Willetts’ [universities and science minister], arising out of discussions last summer with Research Libraries UK and the Russell Group.


The problem had been to devise a “scalable” model, meaning it would be possible for other countries to join in. He said a model in which all of the reductions in subscription price were focused on the institutions paying open access fees was unworkable.


He said the solution was to institute a sliding scale on which the split of price reductions between individual institutions and subscribers generally would be split. Initially 90 per cent of the reductions will go to the participating institutions. But as take-up of open access increases, a greater proportion of the savings will be passed on to subscribers generally, up to a maximum of 90 per cent.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.